Peter Harbage introduces the discussion of McCain's healthcare proposals by pointing out that the Senator's goal is cost containment, not universal healthcare. Two nuggets:

  • Karen Pollitz outlines how McCain's campaign will essentially deregulate the insurance industry by allowing insurers to choose which state they are licensed in (and regulated by), giving them the opportunity to pick states with the most lenient regulations (think of the credit card industry's love affair with Delaware). He also wants to eliminate tax preferences that allow people to obtain insurance through their employers, forcing them into the individual health insurance market. The nature of insurance -- that companies make money by insuring people who are not sick -- means that regulation is neccessary to ensure that sick people, who need insurance most, are covered. Without it, well, there's trouble. It will also make group plans more expensive as the healthiest people are poached by competing insurers, creating higher-risk insurance pools for others.
  • Karen Davenport notes that McCain's proposals for healthcare savings -- better chronic and preventive care programs and the use of information techology to ease administrative costs -- are only effective when coverage is as wide as possible. Healthcare providers who serve uninsured patients, especially patients who are forced to use Emergency Rooms for care, are unable develop the long term relationships necessary for chronic and preventive care or make the infrastructure investments necessary for electronic medical records, etc.

Foreign Policy coming up next...

--Tim Fernholz

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